The ethics of getting stolen from

If you follow me on Twitter (given my follower count, chances are you’re not, but really, you should. Haha.) you’ll know that I lost my phone. My theory is that it got stolen from me, either at Omakase or at The Coffee Bean in Ayala Triangle Gardens, although my money is on TCB. This is the first time I’ve ever lost a phone in all my years of mobile phone ownership, so I guess I should call myself fortunate. I know some people (in my own household, actually) who’ve lost multiple phones over the years, hence, I probably can’t and shouldn’t complain.

The sad thing is, though, my Blackberry Bold is the first phone I’ve ever bought fully with my own money. And I’ve only had it for ten months, too, so that’s another blow. I also know that I could’ve prevented it from happening, as I was a little careless that night (I think I was slightly too tired to be my usual, careful self).

I called the phone company and had my SIM disconnected and asked if there was a way to disable the Blackberry remotely. It’s not like I had top secret information on my phone, but in case they cracked my PIN, I didn’t want them accessing my phone book (see, I’m a careful friend!). Plus there was that whole feeling of not wanting the person who stole it from me to benefit from my phone. So I promptly had my phone blacklisted using the IMEI number.

But one of the things that my friend told me to comfort me about the loss was that I should just think that the person who stole it needed it more than I did, and that it could help his/her family. And against all logic, I started to feel guilty about having my phone blacklisted and rendered useless. Obviously, it can’t be resold, so there’s no helping the family. Did I just deprive a family of eight of their meals? School-aged children of their books and school uniforms? An infant of its milk? Geeez. I’m evil.

Kidding aside, though, what is the right thing to do here? Do you just let the thief enjoy the fruits of his/her “labor” and hope and pray that the money isn’t used for booze or drugs? Or do you do as I did and promptly have your phone blacklisted, so that, hungry children or not, the phone is rendered unsaleable?

Let me know in the comments what you’d do. I’d really like to know.

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5 thoughts on “The ethics of getting stolen from

  1. I say just let it go 🙂 and at the very least, i hope that the money generated from your loss goes to good. I though about blocking my macbook pro when it was stolen from my car. But at the end of the day, it didn’t help me to sleep better. And so at the end of it all, i just hoped that i was inadvertently able to help a family of 4 get through a month. Lol.

    I just say to myself…that it’s JUST money, and can be made up for given time 🙂

    • I let it go naman na. But I still wonder about what the right thing to do is (in case it happens again? I hope not. Haha.). Ok, it could go to someone’s family. But the flipside is, it could also fund a drug addiction problem or booze or a child prostitution syndicate. Or it could also have just gone to someone who was just plain opportunistic, saw my phone lying around as he/she was having dinner with his/her yuppie friends and took it.

  2. I’d disable it too.
    You shouldn’t feel guilty, the thief should. If people failed to benefit from doing bad things, then they’d stop doing it. So in my book, you did the right thing.

  3. you did the right thing, the thief did the wrong thing. no need to justify the stealing, or turning this wrong into a right. the thief should work hard for the money if he wants to feed his family, just like you did to buy your phone.

  4. B and Cheryl: Thanks! But apparently it’s quite easy to have a blocked phone unblocked in Greenhills. Haha. So there. But at least there was an “investment” on the person’s part to get use out of the phone.

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